Philippines

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Filipino(s)

adjective: Philippine

Ethnic groups

Tagalog 24.4%, Bisaya/Binisaya 11.4%, Cebuano 9.9%, Ilocano 8.8%, Hiligaynon/Ilonggo 8.4%, Bikol/Bicol 6.8%, Waray 4%, other local ethnicity 26.1%, other foreign ethnicity .1% (2010 est.)

Languages

unspecified Filipino (official; based on Tagalog) and English (official); eight major dialects – Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinan

Religions

Roman Catholic 80.6%, Protestant 8.2% (includes Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches 2.7%, National Council of Churches in the Philippines 1.2%, other Protestant 4.3%), other Christian 3.4%, Muslim 5.6%, tribal religion 0.2%, other 1.9%, none 0.1% (2010 est.)

Demographic profile

The Philippines is an ethnically diverse country that is in the early stages of demographic transition.  Its fertility rate has dropped steadily since the 1950s.  The decline was more rapid after the introduction of a national population program in the 1970s in large part due to the increased use of modern contraceptive methods, but fertility has decreased more slowly in recent years.  The country’s total fertility rate (TFR) – the average number of births per woman – dropped below 5 in the 1980s, below 4 in the 1990s, and below 3 in the 2010s.  TFR continues to be above replacement level at 2.9 and even higher among the poor, rural residents, and the less-educated.  Significant reasons for elevated TFR are the desire for more than two children, in part because children are a means of financial assistance and security for parents as they age, particularly among the poor.

The Philippines are the source of one of the world’s largest emigrant populations, much of which consists of legal temporary workers known as Overseas Foreign Workers or OFWs.  As of 2019, there were 2.2 million OFWs.  They work in a wide array of fields, most frequently in services (such as caregivers and domestic work), skilled trades, and construction but also in professional fields, including nursing and engineering.  OFWs most often migrate to Middle Eastern countries, but other popular destinations include Hong Kong, China, and Singapore, as well as employment on ships.  Filipino seafarers make up 35-40% of the world’s seafarers, as of 2014.   Women OFWs, who work primarily in domestic services and entertainment, have outnumbered men since 1992. 

Migration and remittances have been a feature of Philippine culture for decades.  The government has encouraged and facilitated emigration, regulating recruitment agencies and adopting legislation to protect the rights of migrant workers.  Filipinos began emigrating to the US and Hawaii early in the 20th century.  In 1934, US legislation limited Filipinos to 50 visas per year except during labor shortages, causing emigration to plummet.  It was not until the 1960s, when the US and other destination countries – Canada, Australia, and New Zealand – loosened their immigration policies, that Filipino emigration expanded and diversified.  The government implemented an overseas employment program in the 1970s, promoting Filipino labor to Gulf countries needing more workers for their oil industries.  Filipino emigration increased rapidly.  The government had intended for international migration to be temporary, but a lack of jobs and poor wages domestically, the ongoing demand for workers in the Gulf countries, and new labor markets in Asia continue to spur Philippine emigration.

Age structure

0-14 years: 32.42% (male 18,060,976/female 17,331,781)

15-24 years: 19.16% (male 10,680,325/female 10,243,047)

25-54 years: 37.37% (male 20,777,741/female 20,027,153)

55-64 years: 6.18% (male 3,116,485/female 3,633,301)

65 years and over: 4.86% (male 2,155,840/female 3,154,166) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 55.2

youth dependency ratio: 46.6

elderly dependency ratio: 8.6

potential support ratio: 11.7 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 24.1 years

male: 23.6 years

female: 24.6 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 168

Birth rate

22.66 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 58

Death rate

5.99 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 159

Net migration rate

-1.75 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 164

Population distribution

population concentrated where good farmlands lie; highest concentrations are northwest and south-central Luzon, the southeastern extension of Luzon, and the islands of the Visayan Sea, particularly Cebu and Negros; Manila is home to one-eighth of the entire national population

Urbanization

urban population: 47.7% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 2.04% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas – population

14.159 million MANILA (capital), 1.866 million Davao, 994,000 Cebu City, 931,000 Zamboanga, 903,000 Antipolo, 770,000 Cagayan de Oro City (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.86 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother’s mean age at first birth

23.5 years (2017 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-49

Maternal mortality ratio

121 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 64

Infant mortality rate

total: 20.55 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 23.49 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 17.46 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 81

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 70.32 years

male: 66.78 years

female: 74.03 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 169

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 97.7% of population

rural: 92.7% of population

total: 95.4% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.3% of population

rural: 7.3% of population

total: 4.6% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

0.6 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

1 beds/1,000 population (2014)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 95% of population

rural: 88.2% of population

total: 91.4% of population

unimproved: urban: 5% of population

rural: 11.8% of population

total: 8.6% of population (2017 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria

water contact diseases: leptospirosis

note: on 8 October 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Travel Health Notice regarding a polio outbreak in the Philippines; CDC recommends that all travelers to the Philippines be vaccinated fully against polio; before traveling to the Philippines, adults who completed their routine polio vaccine series as children should receive a single, lifetime adult booster dose of polio vaccine

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 96.3%

male: 95.7%

female: 96.9% (2019)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 13 years

male: 13 years

female: 15 years (2017)

People – note

one of only two predominantly Christian nations in Southeast Asia, the other being Timor-Leste

Last Updated on August 4, 2022